Alamy Stock Photo US sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson.
Sha'Carri Richardson

US sprinter who missed Tokyo Games for marijuana usage slams Valieva verdict

Meanwhile, the chief executive of US anti-doping authority USADA, who enforced Richardson’s ban last summer, has accused Russia of ‘hijacking’ the winter Games.

US SPRINTER SHA’CARRI Richardson on Monday slammed the decision to allow Kamila Valieva to continue to compete at the Winter Olympics despite a positive drugs test, contrasting the case with her own doping suspension from the Tokyo Games last year.

Richardson was barred from competing at the Olympics after testing positive for marijuana during the US track and field trials in Eugene, where she won the 100 metres.

The 21-year-old Texan was subsequently suspended for 30 days, making her ineligible to participate in Japan where she had been tipped as a medal contender.

Russian figure skater Valieva has been cleared to compete again at the Beijing Olympics despite testing positive for the endurance-boosting angina medication trimetazidine.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected appeals by the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Skating Union to have the suspension reinstated after it was lifted by Russian anti-doping authorities.

A CAS ruling said that there were “exceptional circumstances” around 15-year-old Valieva, including her age.

Matthieu Reeb, CAS director general, said: “The panel considered that preventing the athlete to compete in the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances.”

CAS also emphasised that “there were serious issues of untimely notification” of the result of the test.

Valieva took the test on 25 December but the result was only produced by Russian anti-doping authority RUSADA last week — after she had led Russia to team gold.

“Such late notification was not her fault, in the middle of the Olympic Winter Games,” the ruling said.

But the CAS ruling failed to impress US sprinter Richardson, who was suspended by her country’s anti-doping body for ingesting marijuana last summer, missing out on the Tokyo Games.

Responding on Twitter to a column in USA Today which described the Valieva decision as a “slap in the face” for clean athletes, Richardson wrote: “Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mine?

“My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3.

“The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady.”

Richardson admitted using marijuana after her positive test last year, saying she took the drug after learning of her mother’s death.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) enforced her suspension while acknowledging her case was “heartbreaking on many levels.”

Richardson on Monday also noted that marijuana was “definitely not a performance enhancer!”.

She also took aim at the fact that Valieva’s sample was provided in December but not tested until February.

“Failed in December and the world just now know, however my result was posted within a week and my name and talent was slaughtered to the people,” Richardson wrote.

The Valieva case has hinged on that delay between her sample — provided at a competition in Russia on Christmas Day — and its analysis, which was only carried out six weeks later.

Normally, as was the case with Richardson and American body USADA, drug tests involving athletes preparing to compete in major championships would be expedited by the national anti-doping authority of the country involved.

But the World Anti-Doping Agency said the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) made no request to accelerate testing of Valieva’s sample.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA, said “only time will tell” if Russian Valieva should have been allowed to compete in Beijing after testing positive for a PED.

But Tygart said if Valieva was later disqualified, the CAS ruling will “once again permit the Russians to taint the Olympic Games.”

Either way, for the sixth consecutive Olympic Games, Russia has hijacked the competition and stolen the moment from clean athletes and the public.

“If Russia would have properly processed this sample which they collected weeks prior to the Olympic Games, we would know for certain whether the women’s individual event starting tomorrow will be a real competition and whether she should have been allowed to skate in the Figure Skating Team Event.”

– © AFP 2022

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel